South in icy grip, as latest winter storm defies warming predictions
Promises of a warmer winter are not bearing fruit as new winter storm grips the South, bringing its largest city, Atlanta, to a full stop. Even the governor's inauguration event was canceled.
The South's largest city, Atlanta, turned into a frosty icicle Monday morning as yet another cold snap and winter storm undermined predictions that the region would see a warmer and wetter winter than usual.Skip to next paragraph
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Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas all saw up to six inches of snow fall overnight Sunday, pushing America's warmer-weather creatures firmly inside, save excited sledders and snowman-builders. The storm also took a toll in Louisiana, where two people died in traffic accidents caused by icy conditions.
Metro Atlanta and its 5 million residents arguably took the brunt of the storm, as lack of snow-removal equipment left the vast majority of side streets overlaid with an ice sheet as deep and hard as a hockey rink. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines canceled 1,400 flights Monday, largely due to conditions at the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield Jackson International.
IN PICTURES: Ice and snow sculptures
After many Southerners experienced the second unusually cold and snowy December in a row – including Atlanta's first white Christmas since 1882 – the warming trend predicted by long-range meteorologists at the National Weather Service has so far failed to appear. A regional high-pressure system over Greenland – the North Atlantic Oscillation, or "Greenland Block" – has thrown a wrench into traditional, and easier-to-predict, weather patterns.
The unusual winter conditions, especially in the South and parts of the mid-Atlantic, have renewed debates about manmade global warming, with many scientists saying the cold weather is proof of climate change and skeptics saying such global-warming hype has left many unprepared for one of the coldest and snowiest decades in 40 years.